Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Culture of Safety
- Safety is for everyone, there is no hierarchy. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep each other safe. It is important for everyone, regardless of your role, to keep an eye out for personal protective equipment (PPE) mistakes and slip-ups. Don’t hestitate to tell one another “don’t forget your face shield” or “your gown isn’t tied correctly, let’s fix it.” We are in this together!
Keep track of the “bug” in the room
- Always practice standard precautions and treat blood and bodily fluids as potentially infectious.
Sometimes, we do not know what the bug is. Othertimes, the “bug” could be COVID-19, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Influenza, Clostriodies difficile (C. diff), or vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE).
- The bug has the ability to move! Remember to follow isolation and transmission-based precautions.
- A patient with C. Diff has active diarrhea and is walking around the room spreading the bacteria.
-A patient with influenza who is coughing, the virus is spread via droplets 3-6 feet from the patient.
- Focus your attention/body towards the highest concentration of infection (the patient) and be aware of the exposed (areas not covered by PPE) parts of your body.
Wear the recommended amount of PPE (more PPE does not equal more safe)
- The doffing (removal) process poses the highest risk of transmission due to risk of self-contamination.
- Using more PPE than recommended creates:
-A false sense of safety;
-Increases the risk of contamination during the doffing process; and,
-Leads to decreased hand hygiene.
- Always follow the World Health Organization (WHO) 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene.
- Never-ever: throw, lob, catapult, or slingshot PPE to throw away. Gently place in the trash can to reduce contamination in the environment.
Maintain clean and dirty PPE zones (Clean to clean, dirty to dirty)
- Contain the “dirty” (outside of PPE) zone and the “clean” (inside of PPE) zone.
-When doffing contain the dirty with the clean.
-When cleaning your face shield, clean the inside first then clean the outside “clean to dirty”.
Practice, practice, practice (build muscle memory, be thoughtful and purposeful in donning/doffing)
- Follow the donning/doffing signs.
- Using the same practice every time helps build your muscle memory.
Use a buddy (also known as a trained observer)
- Provides a double check before going in a room and during doffing.
- Always follow the World Health Organization (WHO) 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene
- When visibly dirty change gloves, otherwise take advantage of hand sanitizer.
- This is great to use even in standard precautions. It does not breakdown the efficacy of the gloves.
Follow the beak method of glove removal
- CDC recommended way to doff gloves: “clean: clean, dirty: dirty”.
Decrease bioburden in the environment by regularly cleaning high-touch surface areas with approved wipes.